|Slovenia's Eurovision entry for 2023|
A couple of years back when our first Slovenian group visited us they got caught up in the Icelandic volcanic eruption and had to be rescued by our fleet of emergency drivers , a mad dash through the channel ports and a pick up on the French coast for a 2 day drive back to their Balkan bolt hole. We weren't sure Slovenians would ever come to see us again.... However, they did.
And a good choice of season it was too! Normally in March in England we're sweeping up wind toppled tree trunks , laying gentlemanly cloaks over puddles of rain or closing down entire communities and declaring National emergencies lest a snowflake lands on the nose of a civic dignatory. This time however, it was like mid summer. Excluding the murders. Well, most of them .
|admiring the lifeguards horses|
This particular group of Slovenians were from the mountain region around Bled-where our tour groups have visited on many occaisions. Their school, in the hamlet of Radovljica, has hosted both Bridgwater College and the Richard Huish school on previous visits and so we were very happy to have them back over here.
Choosing to land at Stansted (with a direct Easyjet flight from Ljubljana) VERY late one night we picked them up by our fleet of minibus (and car) and drove them straight into London where they tumbled out on the Embankment at Midnight to take pictures of the bright lights of the big city before tumbling back into the vehicles to check into their Holland Park hostel for the night.
First thing in the morning we dished out the day passes and took them on a selective tour of the sites of the capital. Changing of the horseguards, Buck house, Downing street, Trafalgar square then across London to the Tower, Shakespeares globe and St.Pauls. Well, there's probably more to London, but that'll do for 6 hours....
|somewhere yonder is a white horse......apparently|
So off we went to Oxford for a visit to the famous University city - followed by a night in the Ridgeway Youth Hostel on the hills above Wantage where everybody learnt how to make and eat Shepherds pie. Followed by that other local delicacy- Canadian pancakes with maple syrup.
The next day we set off bright and early along the ancient ridge path to have a look at the White Horse of Uffington and then stopping for a mid-day break at the Prehistoric stone circle of Avebury. On this occaision chosen as an assembly point for a rally by the North Midlands (by the accent) Hell's Angels.
|Taking in the medieval street scene, Wells|
Continuing into Somerset the students were impressed by the splendour of Wells with audible gasps on reaching vicars close and again beneath the impressive cathedral. And off we went again to Glastonbury where a wander round the town wasn't enough so they insisted they could fit in a walk up Glastonbury Tor - and whilst they didn't quite do it in the 5 minutes predicted-they weren't far off..
|International night at the Green Olive|
That evening the group had a treat in store for them as the newly re-opened Green Olive restaurant on Bridgwaters stricken West Quay co-operated with us in holding an 'International Night' along with local supporters and a range of Mezze snacks. Entertainment was provided by Polish singer Darianna and her friends whilst Slovenian heart-throb Tilen Zganjar wooed the audience with his devastating repartee of karaoke hits from his homeland, at one point even causing his teachers to get up and dance.
|music of many Nations..|
Staying the night at Street youth Hostel on the Polden ridge the students woke bright and early to be whisked away into Bridgwater College where Globetrotting media lecturer Mino De Francesca spent the morning with them showing them around and introducing them to his Media students and the films they had made. The Slovenians -from one of the few schools in their country that specialises in Media, had also brought along some of their works.
That afternoon the group took in Burnham on Sea, Cheddar and then Bath where they had a guided tour before staying overnight after visiting a live jazz blues band at the Bell Inn on Walcott street and getting to know the locals. Who turned out to be Lithuanian.
|leaving Bridgwater College|
The next day we had to rush them off to Stansted (before another volcano erupted) and waved good bye to them after an action packed 5 day visit - hoping to see them again next year!